Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments this term in a case that could threaten access to mifepristone, one of two drugs commonly used for medication abortion.
The Court’s move in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA came in response to a request by the U.S. Department of Justice for review of a lower court ruling that attempted to reinstate burdensome restrictions on access to the drug. That ruling, issued in August by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, did not take effect due to an earlier order by the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court did the right thing by agreeing to review the erroneous ruling of the lower court that would drastically curtail access to medication abortion,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Now the question is whether the Court will do the right thing and reject the radical arguments of the plaintiffs in what should be a clear-cut case. The Court has never invalidated a long-standing FDA approval like they are being asked to do here. The stakes are enormous in post-Roe America.”
Filed in November 2022 by anti-abortion advocates seeking to remove mifepristone from the market nationwide, the lawsuit challenges the FDA’s initial approval of the drug as well as more recent FDA actions to increase mifepristone’s access.
“Abortion pills have been used safely in the U.S. for more than 20 years, and they are more important than ever in this post-Roe landscape,” added Northup. “That is precisely why the anti-abortion movement is attacking them.”
The Supreme Court will likely hear arguments on the case in the spring, with a decision likely sometime near the end of the Court’s term in June 2024. Mifepristone remains legal while the case proceeds.